Federal News Network: Do feds have an incentive to help their agencies uncover waste and find cost savings?

WASHINGTON– “Seven agencies have at least 25 open actions from GAO. The Defense Department has the most of any other agency, with 74 unaddressed or partially unaddressed recommendations. GAO flagged several new defense programs this year but focused its attention on two in particular.

By closing some its defense distribution centers, which store and process clothing and weapons systems repair parts for troops, the Pentagon could save about $527 million over five years. GAO also sees some duplication and overlap at Army and Marine Corps depots and Navy shipyards.

House lawmakers acknowledged agencies’ progress on eliminating some duplicative programs and processes, but they questioned whether federal organizations had the tools to motivate their employees to uncover wasteful spending and do something about it.

‘What incentive is there for a government employer or agency to save taxpayers’ money? What incentive is there? Is there any today?’ Rep. Rod Blum (R-Iowa) said.

In theory, agencies’ performance management systems should encourage and reward employees for their good work, Dodaro said.

‘What we do is prevail upon people’s commitment to public service and to be good stewards,’ he said. ‘For example at GAO, I reward our people based upon what we’re able to do … to save taxpayers’ money. There has to be a good reward system in place to do that. It doesn’t exist throughout the federal government, though.’

But Dodaro said he isn’t confident that employees at other agencies have the same incentives.

‘I’m not sure I could say that about the rest of the federal agencies and departments,’ he said. ‘We’ve said that some of the performance management approaches in the federal government, the civil service system, [are] outdated. They’re not aligned properly with modern compensation systems, modern classification systems and need to be revamped.’”

Author: Nicole Ogrysko

Full article here.